Referring to the killing by the U.S. of Iran’s IRGC Qods Force commander, Qassem Soleimani, a senior U.S. diplomat asserted that “this was a defensive strike that was taken and supported by very solid intelligence... This was strongly supported by everything that we were seeing that Soleimani was planning imminent attacks against American diplomats and our armed forces members in Iraq, Lebanon, Syria and in the region”. Another senior U.S. official indicated that “my strong impression is that right now, everybody in his little foreign legion is scurrying for cover right now”. While noting that “we cannot promise that we have broken the circle of violence”, the official stressed that “if we do see an increase in violence, it probably will not be as devilishly ingenious”.
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